We’ve got to be honest: the Earth’s prognosis isn’t good. But with headlines declaring that going vegan is ‘the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact’ and research pointing at a massive 73% reduction in carbon footprint by swearing off animal products. We think it’s worth revisiting the huge vegan-motivating factor that is the health of this planet.
First of all, we’ll give you a run-through the 3 biggest threats we are facing:
What’s the impact of climate change?
Climate change is wreaking havoc, causing extreme weather events, melting the polar ice caps and shifting seasonal temperatures at a rate that is devastating for untold numbers of wildlife species.
What’s the impact of pollution?
Pollution of air, land and water is bringing death and disease through ecosystems. A major source of water pollution is fertilizer used in agriculture, this is a key reason to choose organic foods for the planet. Rain washes other pollutants into streams and lakes – like animal waste from cattle ranches.
What’s the impact of deforestation?
Deforestation is killing billions of animals and their habitats, impacting local and global water cycles and contributing to aforementioned climate change. Farming, grazing of livestock, mining, and drilling combined account for more than half of all deforestation. In Malaysia and Indonesia, forests are cut down to make way for producing palm oil. In the Amazon, cattle ranching and farms are key culprits.
What planet friendly measure can we take?
Well, lots of things like conscious consumption and recycling. But research suggests the single biggest of these is to go vegan. This is because lowest-impact animal products typically have greater environmental impacts than plant ones. As eating is something we all have to do every day, the difference we can make to supply through our reduced demand for animal products is massive.
What’s the Environmental Impact of a Vegan Diet?
Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
These gases create a greenhouse effect by absorbing and releasing heat, causing global warming. Animals bred for the food industry produce masses of carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia. By choosing a vegan lifestyle, the demand-supply chain for animal products will ultimately result in less greenhouse gas emissions from animals bred for food. We can and must slow down climate change: being part of a global shift away from animal agriculture is a great place to start.
Clearing land for livestock and significant over-grazing weakens and erodes soil, which is one of the most important carbon storage systems Earth has. Choosing plants is choosing not to assent to this. Choosing organic (hello!) is even better!
Conserving Fresh Water
Fresh water is a limited resource, yet around a third of the global fresh water is used in animal agriculture. Livestock is also one of the biggest polluters of fresh water. Choose veganism to save water.
Reduced Energy Consumption
When compared by the amount of energy each provide, meat takes nearly 20 times as much fossil fuel to produce than grain. If you could be plant powered and reduce fossil fuel consumption, why wouldn’t you?
Reduced Waste Impacts
Livestock produce a huge quantity of waste, which contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients find their way into waterways and cause eutrophication, whereby algae flourish but the rest of the ecosystem is starved of oxygen and biodiversity is severely impacted. Methane – the greenhouse gas – is also released as waste from the massive numbers of animals bred for food. The planet needs less waste-producing livestock.
Saving Aquatic Life
The way we fish kills and discards five pounds of seafood for every one pound eaten – our oceans could be fishless by 2048. Eminent marine biologists point out that “fish are critical to maintaining the integrity of the ocean systems, which in turn make the planet work”.
Growth and reproduction of aquatic creatures with calcium carbonate in their structures (such as coral and crabs) is impacted by ocean acidification. This is a result of the high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolving into bodies of water in which these creatures live.
We can save aquatic life by choosing not to eat it and not to contribute to the agricultural industry that is causing its decimation.
Rainforests absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen – vital for the survival of most multicellular organisms. They are key in stabilising climate, providing a habitat for billions of animals and maintaining water cycles. With the dangerously high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, you’d think we would be desperately preserving rainforests, but not so. At least an acre is cleared every second, mostly for farming or feeding animal livestock.
Far less space is needed to grow plants that provide equivalent energy in human consumption. We needn’t cut down the Amazon; we just need to cut out the animal products.
Livestock produces more pollution than all the vehicles in the world. Filling the world with more plants and less livestock just makes sense, doesn’t it?
What’s your #VeganMotivation?
Are you vegan #ForThePlanet? We’d love to hear what helps you choose plants over animals on your plate! Clue us in on #BonsanVegan Social channels.